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Isley Brothers: Greatest Motown Hits

The Isley Brothers

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Album Review

While probably best suited for the casual listener, this Isley Brothers collection still contains a potent mix of the band's biggest hits from the ‘70s and ‘80s. Showing the group's flexibility, Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 includes quiet storm funk ballads like "For the Love of You," the proto-new jack swing of "Between the Sheets," and soul anthems like "Fight the Power" and "Live It Up." The group's signature songs are here too, including early-‘70s chart-toppers like the Stax-inspired "It's Your Thing" and the stratospheric pop-funk cut "That Lady"; the latter features Ernie Isley on one of the most incredible funk guitar solos on wax (the Hendrix elements being almost a given since the guitar great cut his teeth in the Isleys' mid-‘60s touring band). And there are more urbane smooth-groove tunes like "Footsteps in the Dark" and "Groove with You" to top things off. Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 is a good collection for curious soul and funk fans. Listeners looking for a more thorough selection of Isley hits, though, should check out Rhino's two-volume The Isley Brothers Story; while the first disc covers early smashes from the late ‘50s and ‘60s like "Shout," "Twist and Shout," and the Motown hit "This Old Heart of Mine," the second includes all the cuts on this collection, plus several more prime tracks the band made while on the T-Neck label. [The 2002 Epic/Legacy CD reissue adds five tracks, four of them number one R&B hits from 1977-1980, the other Isley/Jasper/Isley's 1985 number one R&B hit "Caravan of Love."]

Biography

Formed: 1954 in Cincinnati, OH

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

First formed in the early '50s, the Isley Brothers enjoyed one of the longest, most influential, and most diverse careers in the pantheon of popular music — over the course of nearly a half century of performing, the group's distinguished history spanned not only two generations of Isley siblings but also massive cultural shifts which heralded their music's transformation from gritty R&B to Motown soul to blistering funk. The first generation of Isley siblings was born and raised in Cincinnati,...
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